Morning Business Memo

Feb 28, 2012 8:45am

The FBI has ambitious plans for its insider trading crackdown. The government is investigating whether about 240 people improperly shared insider information, senior agent David Chaves told the Wall Street Journal. Roughly half of those – 120 – are said to be “targets.”

Insider trading was not on the bureau’s front burner for years. It’s  now “front and center for security investigators,” according to the New York Times. The FBI video, starring actor Michael Douglas of Gordon Gekko fame, is part of the new push for tip-offs and co-operating witnesses.

Standard and Poor’s has downgraded Greek debt again, saying the write-down deal with private creditors amounts to a “selective default.” The downgrade had been widely expected. S&P first said in June that it would take action. Nevertheless, it is the first time an advanced economy has been in default since the 1940s. Greece’s Parliament is expected to vote today on a package of salary and pension cuts as part of the measures needed to secure the bailout.

The White House says it welcomes a Canadian company’s plan to build an oil pipeline from Oklahoma to Texas. The new proposal by TransCanada does not require presidential approval because it wouldn’t cross a U.S. border. The plan comes after the larger Keystone pipeline from Canada was blocked by President Obama. This new one would alleviate an oil bottleneck at a major storage hub in Cushing, Oklahoma, potentially cutting the price of refined products.

A Texas school district is trying to close its digital divide by distributing thousands of Apple tablet computers. That could make it the largest iPad program for students in the nation. McAllen Independent School District in the southern part of the state began distributing 6,800 devices this week, mostly the iPad tablet computers, but also hundreds of iPod Touch devices for its youngest students.

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